Gary Kohn previously worked as a film producer for 25 years before co-founding Luxury Travel Hackers, a travel tech and media company. He was always fascinated by content creation because it felt like Hollywood and Silicon Valley mixed together. So, he took the opportunity to start over as an entrepreneur and build Luxury Travel Hackers after seeing how difficult it was to book luxury vacations yourself. During COVID, their business took a year off, but they took the opportunity to hone in on what Luxury Travel Hackers would look like post-COVID.
Luxury Travel Hackers works by having a wide variety of posted content through influencers, Facebook ads, and more. People see the trip and then swipe up or click through, which takes them to a landing page. Then, Luxury Travel Hackers contacts them to have this trip booked for them.
Luxury Travel Hackers books all the hotels, travel, yachts, national parks, activities, and more. Generally, people see the trip on an influencers’ page, and then Luxury Travel Hackers’ travel agents will help them book it for themselves.
Gary’s vision and goal for Luxury Travel Hackers?
Make vacations bookable. Take the point of inspiration, such as the beautiful photo or video on Instagram, then immediately make it an actionable step instead of just a dream vacation that nobody ever books.
Currently, no one else offers travel booking directly from social media, allowing Luxury Travel Hackers to stand out from the crowd. Luxury Travel Hackers will also enable you to build your entire vacation from one company, rather than having to jump around and find different web pages and make multiple reservations.
Everything starts through social media, rather than being heavily web page-based. Luxury Travel Hackers is also highly customer service oriented, so users are left feeling excited and clear about their trip, rather than having to do DIY their vacation online on their own, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
Luxury Travel Hacker Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Gary has had great success with influencer marketing. None of Luxury Travel Hacker’s campaigns have failed to bring in good returns, and he’s worked with several types of influencers, including people in the travel and family niche. When choosing influencers, he considers their audience, engagement, and what kind of trips they take. If they’re taking extremely expensive trips, this isn’t the best choice for his company because he won’t get many people making appointments for such a costly trip.
After picking influencers to work with, he’ll help them curate different posts, which may include using beautiful photos he has on file. For a small group of influencers, he’ll work to produce the content with them specifically. This can consist of camera crews and more.
For Luxury Travel Hacker’s KPI, he has found that they average about 50-75 leads for paying an influencer $100 to $150 a day for their post. These leads will then convert into around ten appointments a day, leading to $8,000 to $13,000 in sales.
Working with Influencers in the Travel Niche
So far, Gary hasn’t been surprised by how influencers operate because of his background working with actors and actresses. He acknowledges that influencers are very protective of their brand, making work with some influencers difficult. Still, it’s usually easy for him to tell what kind of person they are based on their social media.
Based on this information, companies should consider working with influencers as a partnership. Influencers also have their own branding and content to consider, so it’s important to honor this and move on if you feel that there is too much disparity between your goals and the influencer’s brand goals. If you’re an influencer, keep in mind that protecting your brand is more important than working with a single company. There are always other opportunities that you can take with other brands, so don’t compromise yourself just to work with a single company.
Gary feels the biggest mistake that other travel companies make with influencer marketing is struggling to balance the monetization for both the influencer and the brand. Often, companies will pay an influencer a fee and pay for their vacation, which can be quite costly.
Gary thinks that many travel brands would benefit from understanding the influencer marketing model better by setting clearer expectations with influencers and understanding which influencers will be most beneficial to their brand. Many brands only look at follower counts, but not engagement, which can lead to dismal results for their company. Gary recommends that brands do their due diligence and possibly hire a professional to help with influencer marketing if you don’t have the understanding or background for it.
Gary is looking to expand their influencer base to about 500 different influencers over the next six to seven months. He also wants to increase his company’s follower base to four to five million followers throughout their multiple Instagram accounts.
He’s also planning on doing a formal launch this year. Luxury Travel Hackers is currently in “stealth mode” after a soft launch last Fall after they closed for COVID.
Stand out from the crowd. Gary saw the lack of actionable steps for people browsing beautiful travel photos and videos on social media because there was no call to action. He saw that people would leave comments on these photos asking where the picture was taken and saying that they wanted to take the same trip.
Luxury Travel Hackers fills in this gap by allowing social media scrollers to act on this point of inspiration immediately. Look at your brand and figure out how you can stand out from the crowd. Whether this is a new content style, incorporating a call to action in your captions, or something else, standing out from the crowd in terms of your brand, content, or calls to action can help you grow.
Outsource influencer marketing. If you’re not comfortable or knowledgeable about hiring and working with influencers to grow your brand, consider hiring a professional to help you with this process. This can save you a lot of money in the long run and end up making you more money from your influencer campaign, effectively giving you a better ROI.
Create niches within your brand. Luxury Travel Hackers has many social media accounts within specific travel niches. This is an excellent way for their audience to follow the social media accounts that are most interesting to them.
For example, Luxury Travel Hackers has a tropical-themed Instagram, an adventure-themed Instagram, a hidden gems Instagram page, a blog, a travel wellness Instagram page, and a YouTube channel. No matter what social media platform or travel niche their audience is interested in, Luxury Travel Hackers has them covered. Repeat this with your brand by expanding into multiple social media platforms, presenting styles, and creating smaller niches within your greater niche.